In terms of section 19(1) of the Immigration Act the Minister of Home Affairs determines the quotas of specific professional categories and classes of skills that will enable foreign work seekers to come to South Africa under a quota work permit.
Each year the Minister of Home Affairs is required to consult with the Ministers of Labour and Trade and Industry to formulate a list of critical skills in the South African labour market.
Whilst this list of skills is required by law to be determined by the Minister of Home Affairs, there have consistently been delays in its release, which is certainly not in keeping with the spirit of the Department’s stated intentions regarding the contributions made by foreigners to the South African labour market.
It is important to appreciate that as a foreign work seeker under a quota work permit, he or she may in terms of the Immigration Act and the Regulations, enter South Africa on such permit and report to the Director-General within 90 days after an admission and submit proof of having secured employment within the category or class in which his or her quota work permit has been granted.
It is not required that a holder of a quota work permit to have formally secured employment before an admission, as long as he or she submits confirmation within that 90 day period and every 12 months thereafter. Proof of having secured employment would require an offer of employment.
It is permissible to enter South Africa on a visitor’s permit and apply for a quota work permit whilst in South Africa, which is possibly more convenient than having to secure such permit from abroad and of course less stressful than having to find work within that 90 day period especially in tough economic times.
A material change to the most recent quota list is that it is now compulsory for an applicant of a quota work permit to register with the applicable professional body, board or association representing his or her trade, industry or profession.
Whether this change materially impacts on the processing efficiencies remains to be seen but in all likelihood it will require additional administrative legwork for applicants to satisfy. Whether applicants will invoke Regulation 7(8)(c)(i) owing to the time delays will need to be considered.
Guidance will need to be sought whether this requirement is material to the application and we suggest applicants consult with an immigration attorney to determine the latest directives from the Department of Home Affairs.